Chris Robinson

[10 July 2002]

By Kandia Crazy Horse

Shades of a Cowboy in the Boat of Râ

So he has temporarily bid adieu to Lady Boogaloo, our iconoclastic song-singer, Chris Robinson, Transcontinental Badass & Lawd of the Crescent Moon Star

Now he’s knee-deep in his Astral Week(s), tempered molasses rasp & folk-y arrangements spinning new songs of devotion, introspection and, as ever, wanderlust:
“silver car” “untangle my mind” “beginners and sinners” “kissing magik horses”
The hallucinatory, metafizzik-spiced travelogue of the golden pair bolstered by lunar/hazy afternoon intensity and two guitars—- great tone, ecstasy slide and bluesy counterpoint courtesy of (Liam, Noel) Gallagher associate Paul Stacey, the Limey southerner with the magic fingers . . . the singer offers fresh effective phrasing, an ethereal borderline kozmic vibe instead of taking it Uptown to the Apollo with complex vocal interplay nor storefront incantation as he has shown himself capable of (let us will it’s return on the horizon) . . . each note still hittin’ like points of light
Call Chris the homeless jet-ascetic reviving Country Space . . . .jet set (sigh)
Hey, if y’all shut up you might could glimpse The Eternal . . . Respect, respect, jes’ a l’il bit
Lo, the craving crowds quiet down and are now rapt and reverent . . . they get happy when Christopher channels Brother Ray; he cries “I Got a Woman” and stomps first one foot, then the other
The candles glint off the grins & the glasses full o’ hops
White for spiritual blessings
Pink for love
Red for passion
Orange for opening the way & prophetic dreams
Green for money
On the surface the music seems to offer nothing yet is the provider of everything
Robinson’s personal is political for us all who believe in sonic truth
He shakes his rough silk voice over us like an asson (spirit rattle) remaking folk-magic tradition in process
And so we are reborn possessed of the Zombi-Python’s wisdom, rocking across the heavens in the boat of the Sun—- the rock star’s own representative aloft
The boat is going faster . . . faster . . . slow down don’t hurt yo’self
Chris laidback foxtrots from the Pacific to the Aegean Sea sipping “mint tea” to engender visions, reconnect with the Spirit, encounters the Mystery Tramp off the banks of the Seine (Immortal Jim Keltner on traps, Maaaaaan)
And collaborates on the flint soul of “Mother of Stone” with Stacey behind some rain-swept façade in Notting Hill
Our beloved soul singer ain’t been body-snatched by some Richard Thompson-Nick Drake troubadour
He ain’t drowning in sorrow, he’s suffused with passion, he’s peeped truth in the flesh and soul verities a little bliss forever . . .
Chris outran the Zombie at the Crossroads and came back swinging softly, heart in throat to produce the NewEarthMud
Here are sixteen visions of the stardust cowboy as a man moving on, some tunes dropping like summer rain on the cerebellum, others glossing like gossamer wings off one’s shade
The boy is the Last Rock & Roll Singer standing, flying in off the concrete prairie, mic and six-string in their homespun holster, he boldly engages the showdown with his Past
He took his shot and I was felled by the miracles of genius
There upon the Main Street of sparkling candlelight, he’s not interested in fables anymore & so I never look back on the rolling thunder of the Mystery Train hurtling down the track straight out of a Timothy O’Sullivan ikon carrying all Christopher’s past selves aboard, with gaudy masks etched in boogie, punk, gospeldelic, hillbilly, The Funk and glitter
Sundown laws done caught neither him nor I
Starchild of Freddie Stone, the Asantehene’s Praise-singer & the Loup-Garou, what the aging bard trying to say ‘bout pleasure?
Playa, I’m a grown ass man, dawg!
They say the Crowes gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon but this here songbird still got wings to soar
Indeed, the closer “she’s on her way” sounds like the stepchild of Stills’ masterpiece “Bluebird” [suite] when it breaks on through to 12 minutes . . . Raga rock encore un fois una vez mas
The drone is the Thang & some bluegrass pickin’ from Stacey besides
The new blues, space rock born in surf comes from Malibu, spawned by the Cros’ lightning-strike “Laughing” (thus we pray for Chris’ return with big band somewhere past Autumn)
All the rockist playa-hatas always dismiss Mr. Robinson for what can he be but a pale imitation, his phrasing reliant on this one that ‘un, his rants reminiscent of a now-maligned era, that hip-shaking wise-arse cannot be serious and true, shadow-played with Otis & Gram & Champion Jack . . . Aw naw he didn’t!—-
Overlooking the reality that not many minstrels of the hour can mine the songbook to deliver Fred Neil’s “The Dolphins” (via Tim Buckley), The Voice of a Generation’s “You’re a Big Girl Now” and Chris’ favorite Garcia-Hunter “Comes A Time”, not just summon the greats of yore but succeed too in making the Holy Ghost manifest—-
But all them sucka RCs need do is open their hearts minds ears to receive these new songs mature intimate and beautiful, less lyrically abstract than Crowes standards, sonic bridges to the new days spooky and transcendent
These songs the descendants of “Feathers” “Nonfiction”, Janus echoes of Sweet Pickle Salad
Come now, all you fools, and see his grace . . . .don’t call him out his Name or try to deny the man’s Story . . . didn’t you see the fringed, protective gris-gris bag he so proudly displayed? He’s no babalawo yet; nevertheless a disciple of Eshú Elegbara, his song is his fetish
Y’all who don’t listen: bring forth your broken arrows of Peace right now
For every time you sling & aim at Chris Robinson brothaman comes back stronger
Hair shorn, (somewhat) penitent, reinvigorated the fleet-footed boy of yesteryear finds redemption in love (reckon his hero from Liverpool came correct)
And subtly transmits that this is the Way of the New World
Songs of laughter, Songs of light are coming your way . . .
Embrace the joy in the “Sunday sound”: celebration of roots, honoring of truths as old as the rolling hills, your kinpeople’s own shining hootenanny, the site wherein you earn and learn, reconnect with the familial heart
Pickin’ and Faith and getting’ easy like the Sabbath reflect in the Ballroom’s elemental melodies
Wholly holy
As ever sun shines on this lucky motherfucker Mama name him Christopher
Such that Enlightenment has not eluded him
High time to recognize:
My love can fill the empty cup
“Only cowards are afraid of love”

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